still not done with the Pope

the Pope continued his journey through the Middle East today
He is still in Jerusalem
He visited some more historic/holy sites today
mainly the historic sites of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Valley of Gethsemane outside the old city walls
I noticed today that there were several news articles referring to the Pope's speech at the holocaust musueum yesterday
Apparently some people just arent happy with what they heard (or didnt hear)
read some of those stories here, or here
The Drudge Report had a banner headline this morning announcing a "troubled trip" for the Pope

on to the photos...

The Pope first visited the Cenacle, or The Upper Room
Christians believe The Upper Room is the site of Jesus' last supper
I was not able to visit this site when I was in Jerusalem last year
it would have been nice to go to, but we just didn't have time

inside the Upper Room

After visiting the Upper Room the Pope moved onto one of Judaism's holiest sites...The Western Wall

The Western Wall, with a view of the Dome of the Rock

The Pope puts a note inside the Western Wall

The Western Wall was the first stop i made once i got into town
it was a Friday night and dusk was approaching
as we came out of the tunnel like entrance to the Western Wall i immediately pulled out my iphone to snap a picture
how could i resist?
well, it didn't take 30 seconds before a Jewish woman came running up to me and scolded me severely for trying to take a picture
it wasnt so much the picture they had problems with
it was the fact that i was "creating something new"
apparently in the Jewish faith, once the Sabbath begins you cannot create new life
this goes for taking pictures, talking on cell phones and so forth while at the Western Wall on the Sabbath
Since it was the Sabbath, there were hundreds if not thousands of Jewish people rushing throughout the old city to get to the wall and do their prayers
they were dressed in their best clothes with their fancy and oddly shaped hats on
since we were at the wall, the guys decided to make their way down to the wall
women have their own small section they are allowed to pray at
We donned our paper hats (yamaka's?) and started to go down to the wall
not ten feet into our journey a guy yells out "ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK"
see, i was wearing my Mizzou polo
and he happened to see it while i was making my way to the wall
since we were amongst people praying i decided not to respond with the usual Mizzou response
after making our way back up from the wall a young man approached me wearing a KU tshirt
turns out, he was the one who yelled out Rock Chalk Jawhawk
he was from Kansas and was in Jerusalem studying to become a Rabbi
We chatted for the longest time
since no one in our group was Jewish, we had lots of questions about what was going on
and he was more than happy to explain all of the rituals and customs we were observing
i guess it's a small world after all

Finished with the Western Wall, the Pope visited one of Islam's holiest sites...The Dome of the Rock

Even the Pope has to remove his shoes before entering the Dome of the Rock

Pope Benedict XVI is the first Pope to ever step inside the Dome of the Rock

We tried our best to get into the Dome of the Rock
but they just would not let us in
it's ok, they don't let women in either
but it would have been fun to see what was going on inside

Later in the day the Pope held Mass outside the old city's walls in the Kidron Valley, or Valley of Gethsemane.
This is the valley in between the old city and the Mt of Olives
i walked through this valley when i was there
its full of old cemeteries

When Jordan ruled Jerusalem, King Hussein permitted the construction of the Intercontinental Hotel at the foot of the Mount, this lead to the destruction of the Jewish cemeteries
Some 50,000 graves were destroyed during Jordanian rule
After the Six Day War, restoration work began and the cemetery is now open to burials once again

on the footsteps of the Mt of Olives is the Church of All Nations
the Church of All Nations is the home to the Garden of Gethsemane
one of the more impressive sites in Jerusalem

the crowd releases balloons during the Pope's mass in the Valley of Gethsemane

the Pope-mobile drives from the old city into the Valley for mass
(the old city walls are behind the Pope in the picture; its quite the trek to get back up the hill)

Mass begins

I wish a catholic person would explain why the priests have to kiss the alter all the time
I just don't understand
Catholic Mass is just weird to me

Tomorrow the Pope goes to Bethlehem
it's only 5 miles away from Jerusalem, but we were not able to go there
it's not exactly in the most stable part of Israel
From there, the Pope will visit some Palestinian refugee camps
another place we were not allowed to go
it took us long enough just to get into Israel from Jordan
the border crossing was a zoo


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